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Lou Babiarz / Bismarck Tribune, Published November 02 2013

Bismarck St. Mary's holds off Lisbon in ND Class 2A playoffs

BISMARCK – Dan Smrekar of Bismarck St. Mary’s is one of the most experienced football coaches in North Dakota. But he’s been around long enough to know that sometimes you have to trust players to make their own decisions.

Smrekar has given punter Byrne Curl the green light to go if he thinks he can pull of a fake.

The Saints were clinging to a one-point lead in the second quarter of Saturday’s Class 2A quarterfinal game at the Bowl, and their offense wasn’t getting much done.

But with the Saints facing a fourth-and-7 at their own 48-yard line, Curl took off around the right side for a 24-yard gain. That play sparked the Saints, setting up a touchdown and setting them on their way to a 29-12 victory.

It was St. Mary’s first playoff win since 1996.

Smrekar said he has faith in Curl – who also plays defensive back and receiver – to make that call.

“He’s got great speed,” Smrekar said. “When we get in the midfield area, he’s got the green light to take it if thinks he can make it.”

Curl had run one other fake this year, scoring a 60-yard touchdown in a win over Dickinson Trinity.

“On my first punt, I usually look at what the other team is doing,” Curl said. “A lot of times I can tell if they’re going for an all-out block. That gives me the go-ahead to fake it.”

St. Mary’s grabbed the lead on its second possession of the game. Starting with good field position, the Saints put together a five-play, 34-yard scoring march. Jacob Heinert lugged it in from the 2, making it 7-0 with 7 minutes, 6 seconds left in the first quarter.

Lisbon answered with an impressive 80-yard drive, all on the ground. The Broncos broke four plays of at least 10 yards on the drive, with Jenner Manske doing most of the heavy lifting. Joe Nelson capped it off with a 1-yard run.

Manske finished with 114 yards rushing and 117 receiving.

The Saints increased the margin to 21-6 with 3:37 to play in the third when Noah Krebs bulled in from the 1.

Trailing 27-6, the Broncos got desperate, and it nearly paid off. Through the first three quarters, Lisbon had completed just two passes for a net loss of 3 yards. But Lisbon started the fourth quarter with a 66-yard pass and catch from Urbach to Manske, trimming the deficit to 27-12.

The Saints will travel to Fargo Friday to play defending state champion Shanley. The Saints handed the Deacons their only loss in the season-opener.

Lisbon 6 0 0 6– 12

St. Mary’s 7 7 7 8– 29

First Quarter

SM – Jacob Heinert 1 run (Nathan Vetter kick), 7:06.

L – Joe Nelson 1 run (run failed), 2:57.

Second Quarter

SM – Heinert 3 run (Vetter kick), 4:04.

Third Quarter

SM – Noah Krebs 1 run (Vetter kick), 3:37.

Fourth Quarter

SM – Heinert 3 run (kick failed), 11:09.

L – Jenner Manske 66 pass from Dylan Urbach (run failed), 10:19.

Rushing: L – Jenner Manske 24-114, Dylan Urbach 12-42, Joe Nelson 2-4. SM – Darius Sparks 2-90, Gus Smrekar 13-45, Jacob Heinert 23-37, Byrne Curl 1-24, Noah Krebs 6-19, Jacob Schwab 1-3.

Passing: L – Urbach 6-19-1, 142 yards. SM – Smrekar 9-6-1, 95 yards.

Receiving: L – Manske 4-117, Dalton Rotenberger 1-18, Logen Jacobson 1-7. SM – Brian Obritsch 4-5, Noah Krebs 2-25, Sparks 2-7, Curl 1-7.